The Trainer


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Steve Smith

Steve began training retrievers in 1989. He started training professionally in 1997 when Otter Tail Kennels was founded in Glenwood City, WI. Otter Tail Kennels ran from this location until 2003, when the operation was moved to Sulpher Springs, TX. In 2005, we decided to close the operation due to unforeseen life events.

Now the business is back in operation south of Menomonie, WI. After serving 26 years on the St. Paul Police Department, Steve has retired and now dedicates his time to training retrievers. Through the years he has continued to specialize in only three breeds— Labrador, Golden, and Chesapeake Bay retrievers, but he now limits the number of dogs to only 6, which allows more “one on one” time with each dog.

Steve is the sole trainer, he has no assistants, so you always know who is training your dog. If you have questions about your dog, Steve is the one who can answer those questions.

Steve is known for his patience, teaching ability, communication, trust and fairness.  Steve treats the dogs like they are his own and understands that they are valued and loved by their owners. Keeping this in mind, Steve takes time each week to contact each dog owner to let them know how their pet is doing while being trained.

Another innovative training concept that Steve has implemented is “Monday Night Training Group.” This is where all dogs that have graduated from one of our programs is invited with their owner to train with Steve at no cost on Monday evenings. This helps the dog remain solid in their skill, as well as keeping the owners polished in handling. Steve also has a “Train While Away” option for dogs that have completed one of our programs. With this program, owners can have their retriever stay at our kennel (provided there is space available) while away or on vacation. While the dog is at Otter Tail Kennels, he will be trained not just boarded, all for a very economical price.